I loved this book from start to finish. Although I've enjoyed other books by Jensen, this - to me -is her best so far. She's created an intriguing, complex and very entertaining heroine in Ailis, and a very attractive, desirable hero in Lord Clane. I was so sorry when this book came to an end: I could have read something twice as long!
Ailis, the daughter of a respectable Irish family (respectable for Ireland, that is, not England!), despises Christopher Francis Rhys, the Earl of Clane, because of everything she thinks he stands for. His title may be Irish, but he sits in the British House of Lords; he is a decorated British war hero and a notable member of the English Ton. But he very quickly informs her that he is as Irish as she is - "Naomh in Erin me!" - and Christor, the Irish version of his name which he uses in preference to Christopher, turns out to be as proud of his Irish heritage as she is of hers.
Ailis soon begins to develop a sneaking liking for Clane, but her dreams are focused on the Robin Hood-like figure of 'An Cu,' The Hound, the masked man who robs the gentry to give money to the poverty-stricken Irish peasants. But what she doesn't know is that Christor *is* An Cu.
This is an engaging, witty and heartwarming romance which I know I'll love to read over and over. What's more, Jensen has really done her research well. Having an Irish husband must help, I'm sure, but the thread of Irish history, society and politics running through is book is very accurate and convincing. Being Irish myself, I was prepared to be critical, but all the details are exactly as I'd hope for; even Jensen's use of the Irish language is accurate and also very well done. She doesn't break the flow of the narrative by translating immediately, but the meaning of the Irish phrase used is always supplied within the next line or two.
I really loved this book, and I hope Jensen carries on with her practice of referring to one book's lead characters as minor characters in later books. In this book, for example, Lucas Gower (star of His Grace Endures) has a cameo role because of his letters to Christor.
Waiting for Jensen's next book....